Claude was in bar. Nothing particularly special about that- he loved his drink, and a bar was as good a place as any to get some. It was his normal type of bar as well- well-stocked, older, still smelling faintly of cigarette ash from before the smoking ban was passed, and just crowded enough that no one really looked at each other when their elbow got jostled or their toes got stepped upon, but not so crowded that he couldn't move. That was good. He'd learned a long, long time ago that being invisible didn't mean being unnoticed, and there was no better way to go unnoticed than to walk among the dully indifferent.
Which didn't explain why someone was noticing him now.
It was the most conspicuous person in the room, too. Wearing a bloody redcoat of all things, and surrounded by empty bottles and glasses. His eyelids might have been drooped with drunkenness, but beneath them his gaze was a bit too bright, and focused on tracking him.
A Company man, perhaps? Had Primatech (or whatever they were calling themselves these days) caught up with him? If so, this guy was probably the special one, seeing as he was downing the alcohol like it was water and he was dying of thirst. He wondered what sort of ability that would be then: super-liver? Enhanced metabolism?
Someone brushed against him, muttered an apology to the world at large, and moved away. The other man focused on the point where he stood, and even as Claude sidestepped away from it, raised his glass and smirked.
So, not actively aware of where he was, but guessing with an uncanny amount of accuracy. And he was interested in meeting him, apparently. That put something of a dampener on his theory of being a Company man, then- what they should be doing was trying to steer him towards an isolated area, so that they could bag him. Not inviting him deeper into the crowd for a pint.
It's possible he's one of those people looking for him to train him, then. They kept cropping up at odd places, especially now that Torchwood Tower had gone belly up. That lot in Cardiff are a reactionary bunch and, without the constant fear of being classified as 'other phantasmagoria' and vivisected purely on principle, information was flowing just a bit freer among the abnormal community than he would have preferred.
Claude took three steps closer to the booth Redcoat was sitting at, and let a woman bump into him. Sure enough, the twat's eyes snap onto him, and this time he gets a raised eyebrow for his trouble. Well, he might as well get this over with.
He crossed over to the booth- press of people behind him, but a door not twelve feet to his left, and the window behind the man was old and made of single-pane glass. Worst come to worst, he could probably smash it, and the fact that the other man would have to guess where he was would give him something of an advantage, come it to that.
He reached out and picked up the next glass in the redcoat's line of shots, turned it invisible, and drank it down in one go.
Redcoat looked up at him expectantly; it was easier than ever to see that he was making an educated guess, as apparently he was guessing that Claude was about six inches shorter than he actually was.
"Wow," he said at last, the burn of the whisky making him sound vaguely hoarse. "Who'd you kill for that?"
"Barcelonan," he replied.
"Didn't know the Spanish did whisky," Claude remarked.
"Wasn't the Spanish who did it- I got it on the planet Barcelona," he corrects.
Claude gave a shrug he couldn't see. He supposed that meant that he dealt in what that lot at Canary Warf had dubbed 'the invading alien hordes'. Definitely not the Company then- vivisection was a much more exclusive club for them.
Of course, there's still the matter of why this bloke wants to talk with him, although it's looking more and more like a simple misunderstanding. Maybe he should make his exit now while he's still in the clear.
"That's a nice cloaking device," the other man said, just the tiniest bit too casually. "Where'd you get it?"
"Salisbury," he replied dryly. "I was born with it."
"Ah, I thought that was a Northern accent you had there," he said. His gaze hadn't wavered from where he was supposing Claude's face was, and it was making him nervous. He'd met this sort of person before; he'd been shot by this sort of person before. The crazy ones, the ones who liked having an excuse to wreck havoc, but weren't especially picky about what that excuse was. Bishop's girl had been like that.
He had to admit, he was curious as to why this guy was searching out an invisible man, but he wasn't really in the mood for being shot again, really. He picked up another shot glass, toying with it absently.
"Captain John Hart, by the way," Redcoat introduced himself, finally. He held out his hand. Claude, not being an idiot, drained the shot glass and deposited it in John's upturned palm instead of taking it.
"Claude Raines," he replied shortly.
"I've got to ask- is that really your name?" Hart asked.
Claude shrugged- it wasn't an uncommon response. "Is John Hart yours?"
"Do we really need names?" Hart answered, downing another shot of his own. "Men of our caliber?"
Alarm bells rang in Claude's head. It was possible, just barely possible, that someone besides the Company might be looking for him specifically, and he had no doubts that somewhere on this man's resume the word 'mercenary' would be found.
He took another good look at the exit, and noticed something he missed before- there was a suit standing nearby the door, arms crossed and expression stony. Although the bloke's more than a bit too young to be one of the people who once hunted his family, he knew Torchwood when he saw it.
Well, that settled it. He took another shot glass, giving the impression that he was sticking around, before vaulting on the table and through the window. The glass shattered easily, small pieces clinging to his clothing and a jagged edge cutting across the back of his hand before falling to the ground. A bit flash, perhaps, but unexpected, and hopefully that'd give him a few moments head start.
He landed on his feet and pivoted around in the alleyway. There was a brightly-lit thoroughfare mere yards away, and a short wall separating the alleyway from a row of back gardens in the other direction. Now which way would be safer?
Hart jumped out the window landing with a crunch on the broken glass. Claude bit back a curse at the loud noise- he was standing in the stuff too, he realized, and the ground was paved with debris that was bound to make some sort of noise, whichever way he ran. Normal humans might rely on visual cues a bit more than any other, but as any combat veteran could tell you, you could learn to react to noises just as well.
Besides, there was the faint outline of a small gun beneath Hart's coat. Claude really didn't fancy being shot again tonight.
The back gardens were slightly closer, and the wall was probably bullet-proof. He'd just have to go traipsing about in people's begonias, then.
He took three steps, and Hart threw himself at Claude in a tackle. It was a good- and, more importantly, accurate- tackle, and he felt arms encircle his knees before he went crashing down on the pavement, the sharp edge of a few stray pieces of gravel digging into him.
"Gotcha!" Hart cried, tightening his grip.
Claude let him get a firm hold on his left leg, and then lashed out with his right, catching Hart full in the face. There was an audible crack as his boot connected with the wanker's nose, causing him to let go with a spat curse.
Claude got to his feet, skittering backwards as he went. Keep moving, that was the first rule of life on the run. Why the fuck had he stayed in London so long?
It had made him soft, apparently, because Hart was up and running at him before he'd taken two steps. Well, flight wasn't working all that well, perhaps he should try for a fight response.
He revolved around and landed a solid punch on Hart's midriff. He doubled over in surprise and pain, and Claude took the opportunity to aim a kick at his legs. It landed, but Hart caught himself before he fell, and swung a fist at him, missing him by a slimmer margin than Claude was really comfortable with.
He moved backwards towards the wall, and Hart followed him with disquieting ease, although he was not quite managing to land a blow on him. It was a low wall- he could see over the top, straight into the windows of people's kitchens and sitting rooms. He could jump that, easily.
Or so he thought, before he placed his arm on the top of the wall for leverage, and Hart was suddenly able to pin him against it with telling accuracy.
Hart didn't say anything this time, but merely smirked, infuriatingly, staring straight up into Claude's eyes.
There was a sudden crunch of feet landing on crushed glass, and over Hart's shoulder he could see the suit, peering out towards the streets. Hart turned around, and Claude took advantage of his momentary distraction to reverse their positions, pinning the shorter man to the wall and stuffing a generous portion of his hand into his mouth, and extending his field of invisibility around them both, just before he heard the young man turn around.
There was a long quiet period where Hart bit down as hard as he could into Claude's hand, and Claude bit his lip and concentrated on breathing lightly and muffling the sounds of their heartbeats.
The suit muttered a small "Fuck," and then jumped the wall with a running head start. Claude watched as he stumbled about in the shrubbery for a bit, before exiting out the garden gate.
Claude held his breath for a handful of heartbeats, and then Hart unexpectedly bought his knee up into his groin. Claude dropped to the ground with a loud whooshing exhale, and Hart crouched down beside him.
"Well, now that Eye Candy is out of the way, why don't you and I finish our talk? I've got a very nice hotel room and a very, very nice Jacuzzi with our names on it," Hart invited.
Claude stared at Hart's bloodstained face for a moment, before thrusting his forehead into his broken nose. Hart bellowed in pain, and Claude turned and ran, predictably going mere feet before the other man caught up with him. This time, he was prepared, and tangled their feet purposefully together. They crashed into the dumpster with a loud clang, Claude on top and suddenly feeling something hard and thick that definitely wasn't a weapon press against him.
Well. Wasn't this just peachy-keen?
"Or we could do it here," Hart suggested, moving sinuously beneath him. Claude tightened his grip and looked incredulously down at him. All of that, and he wanted to fuck? Really?
Hart bucked against him again, rubbing him in all the wrong places. "Come on, you can't tell me that it hasn't been a while for you."
Sadly, it'd been a rather longer while than he would care to admit to. Finding bedmates is a bit more difficult than normal when you're spending most of your time physically unable to be seen.
Hart's gaze focused on him, and Claude realized that he'd extended his invisibility around him again.
"Is that a yes?" Hart purred.
For an answer, Claude lifted his hand up to Hart's face, swirling his thumb down the side of his nose to his mouth. He felt rather than saw the blood smear along the man's lips. Hart opened his mouth slightly, running his tongue along the pad, and biting down, though not nearly as hard as he could have.
Sod it all. He wanted this. "Yes."
Hart surged upwards, as though to kiss him, and Claude pushed him back down against the dumpster, which reverberated again. "No. Stay still," Claude ordered, fumbling with his trousers.
Hart made a disappointed noise.
"If you have a problem, go somewhere else," he snapped, reaching for the evidence that Hart didn't really have a problem with it at all.
Hart had a short, thick cock; something he'd have to make a joke to himself about later. Claude watched his face as he ran his thumb, still moist with the man's saliva, down his dick and to the head, before wrapping all four fingers around. Hart's hips bucked, and he smirked, before raising up his hand to collect some of his blood on his fingers before wrapping them around Claude's dick.
Sex in an alley was always awkward. You never got fully unclothed so all the unfastened bits tended to wave about (Neither of them were wearing belts, but Hart's ridiculous coat was open and had enough metal fastenings that it was pretty much the same in principle.) and even with the two of them invisible Claude couldn't shake the feeling that they could be caught out any minute. But, as far a sex in an alley goes, it was pretty good. Hart was uncanny at guessing where to stroke and where to squeeze, and between the blood on his fingers and the pre-come they were both leaking, there was just enough fluid to keep the friction on the right side of the line between rough and painful.
Claude felt Hart's fingers run along a vein as they thrust together, before rolling a bit of his foreskin between them. He bucked forwards, pressing more heavily against the shorter man, just close enough to feel the coarse cotton of his undershirt. He groaned, and swirled his thumb across the head of Hart's cock. Hart dragged his hand along his prick and back to his balls, and Claude shouted, shuddered and came. He panted for a moment, sweat trickling down the side of his nose and dropping onto Hart's face. He moved his hand in four limp-wristed strokes, and watched his face contort as he came.
They stood there for a moment; then John reached for his weapon at the same moment Claude pushed himself away. He knew what he'd been doing wrong before; he'd been going in a straight line. This time he zigzagged, and Hart's weapon, some sort of taser if the electricity it was sparking was anything to go on, going wildly amiss as he pursued.
Claude didn't bother with the back gardens, instead making for the brightly lit and busy street. Hart's pants were still undone; he'd have to stop if he didn't want to attract attention to himself. He was going to get away- and by this time tomorrow he'd be well on his way to another country. Wasn't there some sort of cruise liner leaving for New Zealand in the morning?
He rounded the corner in quiet triumph, only to narrowly avoid running into the suit. For his part, the suit smiled and stuck the end of his taser into Claude's midriff. The world went dark.
He came to on the floor of a van, bound ankle and wrist. Turning invisible was a second nature to him by now, and he did so even knowing that at this point it would be of no use to him at all. For their part, his captors hadn't even noticed him; they were too busy bickering in the front of his van.
"And if you hadn't confiscated all of my weapons we would have been finished much sooner," Hart snapped.
"We need him alive," the suit replied, with the air of someone who was very used to having to repeat himself, but no less annoyed by that fact.
"I wouldn't have hit anything vital," Hart complained. Claude watched as the suit rolled his eyes in such an exaggerated way that it was a wonder that they didn't fall clean out of his face.
"But there still would have been a bit more damage than we can afford to deal with right now," he snapped. "Bennet said we'd need him to get Jack back."
Claude's head snapped up and he let out a cry that was supposed to be "Bennet" but ended up being closer to "toaster". Hart looked back at where he was on the floor.
"There, see? The invisible man agrees with me. Bennet can't be trusted," Hart said with some finality.
"Since when do you listen to the people you take hostage?"
"Since they agree with me."
Suit rolled his eyes again. "Bennet can be trusted… as long as what we're doing is helping to protect his daughter. The more they learn from their experiments with Jack, the more they learn about how far they could push her."
"And you think that's enough?" Hart asked.
"Look- do you want Jack back or not?"
Hart didn't reply.
"Do you have a better idea?"
There still wasn't an answer. Claude began trying to work his hands free before he lost all feeling in them completely.
"At the very least, he'll get us inside," Suit said.
"I want my weapons back."
"I've already agreed to that."
"And don't you forget it," Hart insisted, before turning around to look at Claude again. "Well, it looks like we're going to have to take a rain check on that Jacuzzi."
"Tosser," Claude grunted. It actually came out sounding like it too.
"Just sit still. Bennet's calling to explain your piece personally, or so Eye Candy tells me," Hart explained.
Claude didn't answer, choosing instead to focus on getting free. There were a lot of things he hadn't intended on doing tonight- getting beaten, laid, tasered, and kidnapped, for example. He'd be damned if he let "talk to Bennet" get added to that list as well.